4: Marsh Edgelands, Norfolk

North West Norfolk has a large stretch of marshland on the Norfolk Coast Path in the district of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. The silted estuaries are now a relatively remote area about 20 miles from King’s Lynn and 30 miles from Norwich, very important for birdlife as well as walking. Historically from at least Roman times until Tudor times??, the estuary towns were important ports in the wool trade to Netherlands and some of the largest and busiest in the country.

The Burnhams are seven adjacent villages: Burnham NortonBurnham OveryBurnham ThorpeBurnham SuttonBurnham Ulph and Burnham Westgate. The last three form the continuous settlement of Burnham Market. Lots of Lord Nelson pubs to commemorate everywhere he touched – and some places he never went.Burnham Market was rated as among the “20 most beautiful villages in the UK and Ireland” by Condé Nast Traveler in 2020.


Historically Burnham Overy on the River Burn was the port for the surrounding villages of the Burnhams. Burnham Deepdale and Burnham Overy Staithe can be combined in a single walk, with views of Scolthead and nature reserves on one side and the windmill and town of Burnham Norton on the right. Holkham Estate is 3 miles further along the beach or coast path to the east. Google Map


Project possibilities

This project builds on photographic work in 2019-2020. My partner has to look after his father’s house in Burnham Market over the coming year and he will be visiting frequently, so it will be an ideal opportunity for repeated derives 2021-2022. With family ties to the place we also have a good basis on which to get to know local people and learn more about the area. There are many tourist shops selling art and prints in Burnham market and other nearby seaside towns.

For this project possible ideas are:

  • a short derive walk around Burnham Market based on sketches and/or Scarfolk-style photomontage based on psycho-geographical walks and (COVID safety permitting) hanging around in pubs and cafes in Burnham Market with all its upmarket second homes and class distinctions.
  • psycho-geographic and personal reflections on historical, environmental and social issues marshes as a short walk guide with minimalist, quite haunting sketches or drypoint or other prints.
  • photographic single images of the marsh areas to produce a series of visually interesting photographic prints and cards, and images in printmaking media on environmental challenges of marshland management for the local tourist market.

Burnham Overy Staithe

Between Burnham Overy Staithe and the sea, the river spreads out into multiple tidal creeks through the salt marshes that fringe this stretch of coast, and finally reaches the sea by passing through the fronting sand dunes at a gap locally known as Burnham Harbour. Small boats can reach Burnham Overy Staithe through this gap and creek. Today Burnham Overy Staithe, and the associated harbour, is a major recreational sailing centre. It is also the point of departure for ferries to the Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve.

Photographs September 2018

Burnham Deepdale